The theme of the 2019-2020 Presidential Initiatives is grounded in four R’s: Recruit, Reaffirm, Recognize and Retain. Since announcing the Initiatives at the Annual Meeting in February, dates have been set for some of the events and others have already taken place. In addition to attending the first of our National events in South Boston, I have already presented greetings to both the Children of the American Revolution in Williamsburg and the Daughters of the American Revolution in Richmond, as well as attending ceremonies in both Culpeper and Oak Grove and the National Spring Leadership Meting in Louisville, Kentucky.
The importance of Recruiting is obvious. New members are the life blood of our organization. Recruiting, however, is more than just attracting and enlisting new members. As an incentive for recruiting new members, the Chapter grant program initiated by then President Mike Elston and continued under Past President Pat Kelly will continue. I am assured that the rebate checks to the eligible chapters will be going out in the next week or so. We need to continue our work with the CAR and DAR to obtain referrals of those who might be eligible for membership. Recruiting however also includes getting members to serve on Committees, Chapter, State and National, to serve as officers at those levels, and to attract and encourage youth to participate in our Youth Programs, including the Eagle Scout Program, The ROTC/JROTC Program, The Orations, Essay, Poster and Brochures Programs. Chapter or Chapters participating in the most of these programs will again be recognized by the Wayne and Wink Rouse Award. To facilitate youth participation, financial incentives are essential. The Mark S, Brennan, Jr. Fund has been in the forefront of allowing us as a State Society to increase those incentives. I therefore have challenged the Society to add at least $15,000 to this Fund and I will personally match the first $2,000 raised. My check has already been sent and I ask you to do the same. Chapters having individuals who contribute at least $1,000 will be recognized with a streamer and donations will be counted toward commissions or promotions in the First Virginia SAR Regiment. Contributions should be made payable to Virginia SAR, with the Brennan Fund indicated on the Memo line, and sent to our Society Treasurer, Rick Elofson, 21 Paula Maria Drive, Newport News, Virginia 23606.
The second R is for Reaffirm. Every time we recite the SAR Pledge, we commit ourselves to reaffirm our commitment to defend the principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic against every foe. As a means of doing so, I challenge you to make every effort to attend the four Nationally recognized events in the Commonwealth. The first of these, the Crossing of the Dan, took place the third week of February. The three remaining are Martin’s Station celebrated on May 11, Yorktown on October 19, and Great Bridge in early December. Chapters having members attending all four events will be recognized with a streamer. A monument will be dedicated later in the year honoring the Culpeper Minutemen. Participation there will also be recognized with a streamer. We also will again be joining with the Society of the War of 1812 in Virginia and will be participating in two ceremonies on June 1, the first a grave marking ceremony at the Cedar Grove Ceremony at 10:00 and the second a plaque dedication at 11:30 at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Portsmouth, Virginia. A program to place markers or monuments honoring patriots and War of 1812 veterans buried or memorialized in each of Virginia’s counties at the Courthouse or other significant location, similar to the recognition given to World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and more recent conflicts has been launched, we expect to dedicate one in Warren County this fall, and further hope to continue this project in years to come. We are also looking ahead, and as part of our Strategic Planning will develop a multi-year plan so that future dedications can include the DAR and veteran’s organizations in such recognition programs.
The third R is to Recognize. Here there is some overlap with the second R, but as envisioned, we need to focus on recognizing and rewarding those who participate in our programs, giving their time energy, and money to advance our cause. Our Youth Program participants, compatriots, spouses, schools, businesses, and friends who properly display the flag, public servants, particularly our first responders, and elected community officials all richly deserve recognition. 2019 also marks the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of indentured Afro-American at Jamestown and the Williamsburg Chapter’s its 50th Anniversary.
The last R is for Retain. The challenge here is to communicate with our members, to continuously solicit their input and provide the types of programs that will make them want to get involved. We ended 2018 with a modest but positive growth. Let’s build on it in 2019; it takes a concerted effort on all of our parts.
On June 14, 2019, Paul Walden, Chapter Flag Chairmen, commemorated Flag Day by giving a presentation on the history of the United States Flag in the historic Department of Commerce library in the Herbert C. Hoover Building (named after 31st U.S. President and SAR Compatriot) in Washington, DC. Approximately 50 Commerce employees attended. Paul discussed the evolution of the flag from the colonial period, through the American Revolution, and up to the present.
Afterwards, he presented a SAR Flag Certificate to Byron Adkins, Jr., the Director of the Office of Facilities and Environmental Quality. Mr. Adkins is the senior official in charge of the Herbert C. Hoover Building operations. This building is located at a prominent location (1401 Constitution Avenue, NW) and displays total of 12 United States Flags around the building.
Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the United States Flag by resolution of the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. In 1916, President Wilson issued a proclamation establishing June 14 as the official Flag Day. Submitted by Paul Walden.
The Col. James Wood II Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution held a grave side marking ceremony on Saturday morning, June 8th at the Mount Hebron Cemetery in Winchester, VA for a Revolutionary War Patriot John Schultz. He was a member of a small group of rifle marksmen known as the "Dutch Mess". These local men of the Winchester area served with Gen. Daniel Morgan and where "His riflemen and loyal protectors in war. His companions and friends in peace". Immediately following at the same location was the dedication of the new monument to the members of the "Dutch Mess". As noted on the monument, there are six Patriots buried there.
Color Guard Members and dignitaries from other SAR Chapters as well as DAR chapters assisted in the ceremonies and the presentation of the chapter wreaths.
photo 1: Color Guard salute L-R Patrick Corey (drummer), Marc Robinson, Bill Schwetke, Kelly Ford, Brett Osborn, Eric Robinson, Paul Christensen.
photo 2: SAR Color Guard members and dignitaries representing: Col. James Wood II Chapter, Fort Harrison Chapter, Col. William Greyson Chapter, Culpeper Minutemen Chapter, Fairfax Resolves Chapter, Fort Loudoun Chapter DAR, John Alexander DAR. Also attending were Pastor Michael Evans and Rich Venskoske from the Centenary Reformed Church which owns the section of land where these six Patriots are buried
photo 3: Color Guard Members and dignitaries assisting with the service.
photo 4: "Dutch Mess" monument
Submitted by William D. Wood
On June 01, 2019, Norfolk Chapter President Ken Hawkins conducted dignified ceremonies marking the graves of five Revolutionary War Patriots at Cedar Grove Cemetery and eleven Patriot graves at Trinity Episcopal Church Cemetery in Portsmouth, Virginia. Heavy rain and lightning delayed the ceremonies, but the weather cleared by late morning and the sun appeared in time to provide a magnificent setting for the day’s activities—appropriately symbolizing the legacy of the heroes we sought to honor and remember. At Cedar Grove, Nash Bilisoly, a descendant of Antonio Bilisoly, sailing master of a ship in Comte de Grasse’s fleet in the Battle of the Capes, gave a stirring talk. Norfolk SAR Immediate Past President Maury Weeks read the biographies of the five Revolutionary Patriots whose graves we marked (Captain Edward Woneycutt, Antonio Bilisoly, Jesse Nicholson, William Moffatt, and Richard Blow). Pastor Celeste Heath and Norfolk President Ken Hawkins unveiled and dedicated the grave markers prior to the laying of wreaths.
At Trinity Episcopal, Virginia Society President Peter Davenport and President Stuart Butler of the Society of the War of 1812 in Virginia unveiled and dedicated a plaque with the names of the eleven Revolutionary War Patriots and fourteen War of 1812 Veterans. Virginia Society SAR’s Knight-Patty Fund financed SAR’s portion of the cost of this plaque. Bishop James Magness of the Diocese of Southern Virginia offered the invocation and benediction. Maury Weeks and Edward Douglas read the Patriot biographies at Trinity Episcopal and Carter Furr and Tom Whetstone read the War of 1812 Veteran biographies.
At each ceremony, the Virginia Society Color Guard posted the colors and Hickory High School Senior Andrew Barr performed “Taps.” Mayor John Rowe read proclamations from the Portsmouth City Council. Representatives of the Virginia Society SAR, Society of the War of 1812 in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia Chapter Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America, Virginia Society Order of Founders and Patriots of America, Suffolk Chapter Colonial Dames of the XVII Century, and a number of SAR and DAR chapters laid wreaths. Several direct descendants of the honored veterans attended the ceremonies; in addition to Nash Bilisoly, these included Marshall Butt--descended from Commodore James Barron, Macon Williams--descended from Patriot Isaac Luke, and Alexander P. Grice IV--descended from Joseph Grice (Revolution) and Anthony and George Grice (War of 1812). After the ritual of photos, most enjoyed a good barbecue lunch at the Trinity Episcopal tent on Court Street, which the city blocked off for the occasion. Submitted by J. Thomas Whetstone
On June 1, a plaque was dedicated marking the site of the Mount Eagle Mansion on the Montebello Condominium grounds in Alexandria. This was the home built by Bryan Fairfax in 1790 and stood until it was razed in 1968 after being used for several purposes, including a country club. George Washington was a friend of the Fairfax family and attended a dinner here the week before his death in 1799.
Bryan Fairfax was the 8th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, and in fact, was the first member of the House of Lords born in America. Fairfax’s feelings were torn between England and America during the Revolutionary War. On his own in 1777, he decided to be a mediator between the two sides. He was arrested in Lancaster, PA, for refusing to sign a loyalty oath. However, he wrote to his good friend, George Washington, who gave him a pass to travel between the lines. In New York, British officials also required a loyalty oath, which he refused to take. With his mediation attempts a failure, he returned to Virginia for the remainder of the war. In the 1790s, he became Rector of Christ Church in Alexandria and lived at the Mount Eagle estate until his death in 1802.
The plaque was designed and funded by Montebello residents Paul Zeisset and Chuck Amorisino. Fairfax County Supervisor Dan Storck also participated in the dedication. Montebello residents and George Washington Compatriots Lisle Bean and Paul Walden also attended. Submitted by Paul Walden.
Members of the Col. James Wood II Chapter of the SAR based in Winchester participated in the commemoration ceremony for Gen. Anthony Wayne's Crossing of the Potomac River May 31st. 1781. The event was sponsored by the Fairfax Resolutions Chapter (President Tim Dioquino) and the City of Leesburg,VA. Members of the Culpeper Minute Men Chapter, and the Col. William Grayson Chapter also assisted in the color guard duties and the presentation of the wreaths at the Revolutionary War Memorial Statue on the grounds of the Loudoun County Court House.
photo 1 VASSAR Color Guard Commander Paul Chase marches in the colors.
photo 2 The Revolutionary War Memorial Statue, on the grounds of the Loudoun County Court House in Leesburg, VA.
photo 3 L-R Mike Weyler, President of the Col. William Grayson Chapter, 1st Vice President, Charles Jameson of the Culpeper Minute Men Chapter, and Dale Corey, President of the Col. James Wood II Chapter.
Submitted by William D. Wood
Members of the Col. James Wood II Chapter Color Guard were busy over the Memorial Day Weekend and Monday's remembrance ceremonies in a number of local communities. Dressed in full Continental military uniforms and some in militia attire, they presented the colors and stood at attention for the pledge of allegiance. The first event was in Clarke County on the 26th at 2:00 pm, at Rose Hill Park, Berryville. Monday's events started with the 11:00 am service at the National Cemetery in Winchester that was sponsored by the Red Cross Local Chapter. The event was well packed with many Vietnam veterans and family members in attendance. The second event at 1:00 pm was the Middletown Remembrance Service. At each location, the Color Guard showed the respect for those who have fallen in defense of our country will always be honored. They symbolize those that fell at Lexington and Concord all the way through to those who have died in the Middle East in defense of liberty and the right to live in freedom up to present day. Submitted by William D. Wood.
Photo 1 L-R VASSAR Color Guard Commander Paul Chase, Marc Robinson, Bill Schwetke, Dale Corey, Dave Cook, Kelly Ford, Paul Christensen, and Susan Saxton.
Photo 2 L-R Dale Corey, Eric Robinson, Marc Robinson, Brett Osborn
Photo 3 L-R Brett Osborn, Marc Robinson, William Wood, Dale Corey
On May 18, 2019, approximately 40 people gathered at the Glen-Gery brickyard in Manassas to mark the graves of SAR Patriot Robert Thurman and War of 1812 Patriot Thomas Thurman. The event was planned by the Col. William Grayson VASSAR Chapter. Due to the deterioration of Thomas Thurman’s grave, a new tombstone was installed at his grave. Compatriot Thad Hartman (member of both VASSAR and the War of 1812 in VA) did much of the research and labor in installing the grave markers. VASSAR Chapters presenting wreaths were, in addition to the VASSAR Wreath, Col. William Grayson, George Mason, Col. James Wood II, James Monroe, George Washington, and Fairfax Resolves. VASSAR President Pete Davenport, VASSAR 1st VP Bill Schwetke, and VASSAR 2nd VP Jeff Thomas were in attendance. William Collier, Councilor, and Paul Walden, Secretary, of the Society of the War of 1812 in Virginia presented wreaths for that society. The Elizabeth McIntosh Hamill, Falls Church, Fauquier Court House, and Prince William VADAR chapters presented wreaths, as well as the Col. William Grayson Chapter of CAR.
Curtis Robb of the Col. William Grayson VASSAR Chapter served as master of ceremonies. The combined VASSAR and Society of the War of 1812 color guard presented colors as well as providing a 21 gun musket salute.
SAR Patriot Robert Thurman, paid property taxes in 1783, and his son, PVT Thomas Thurman served in the 89th Regiment of the Virginia Militia in the War of 1812 from July to September 1814. He was deployed to Round Hill Church in King George County in the defense of the Potomac River, and to Mattox Bridge in Westmoreland County.
Photos below: clockwise: Color Guard, MC Curtis Robb, graves of Robert Thurman and Thomas Thurman. Submitted by Paul Walden
The James Monroe Chapter inducted into the SAR our newest members Mr. Woodrow Hynson and Peter Trible at May meeting. Also the Good Citizen Medal was awarded to Clara Lee for her outstanding work preparing and delivering Vets Kits to Veterans entering into McGuires Hospital Richmond Va. Submitted by Charles Belfield
Col. James Wood II VASSAR Compatriot Marc Robinson along with other VASSAR dignitaries attended the SAR National event, "Raid on Martin's Station" on May 11, 2019. (L-R Bill Schwetke, Jeff Thomas, Michael Weyler, Vangy Robinson, Marc Robinson, and John Hamilton.
Martin's Station played a relatively short but significant part in the history of southwestern Virginia and the early settlement of Kentucky. The station takes its name from Joseph Martin, who was selected by the famous Virginia explorer Dr. Thomas Walker to lead an expedition into Powell's Valley Virginia in March of 1769. This location became the last fortified station along the Wilderness Road as the westerly migration of settlers continued to push on. Submitted by William D. Wood